Does money matter more to millennials?

Some studies say that saving money is more important to millennials than other generations. See how a group of millennials view their assets and their peers' habits.

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Gen Y'ers are money conscious and better savers than their Boomer parents. Or so claims a recent piece in Time, which reported that Gen Y is more optimistic about its financial future and taking steps to ensure post-career prosperity than those approaching retirement.

Sensing the survey numbers might not tell the whole story, I set out to talk to other Millennials about their saving habits and those of their peers to confirm whether fiscal prudence is a generational virtue and to determine what kind of influence Mom and Dad were when it comes to money.

Here's what they told me:

What motivates you to save?

"I'd call it a product of my upbringing. My parents both had blue collar jobs and didn't make a lot of money. They did what they could, but I learned to live with 'needs' instead of 'wants,' as my mother always put it. I probably wouldn’t have become the person I am without such an upbringing, and I'm very thankful for it. I have excellent credit and after recently selling my home, my only debt is about $7000 in student loans. I have no credit card debt and I'm satisfied with a trusty Jeep that paid off a few years ago that now has over 160,000 miles."

Tim Russell, 29
Pittsburgh

Are members of Gen Y better savers than their parents?

"I don't think so, no. We're a generation that works hard and plays hard. I think if you're raised in a household where being smart about money is not an objective, that you may in the long run actually inherit those traits. If Gen Y is raised by a spendthrift Boomer population, it might actually stand that the system continues unless someone does something about it."

Mehnaz Thawer, 29
Vancouver

How has the recession affected your money habits?

"It's a little hard to factor in how the recession affected my attitude towards money – I was a poor college student when the recession first started and I think my attitude towards money really hasn't changed much. I'm always minimizing my spending, justifying purchases, and trying to do my best to maximize what I get for what I spend. I think the recession just solidified my already existing belief that money is meant to be earned, saved and spent carefully. Watching my husband – five years older – and his peers I think they've loosened up a bit recently. When the recession first started, they all joined right in on my meager ways and now things are a bit more stable – and they seem more secure in their jobs – so they are more likely to eat out, treat themselves to a movie or new toy, etc. This still makes me uneasy, but I can feel myself joining them now and again. So maybe that means it's a short term thing. They certainly are approaching this recession as a blip – something for them to get through before life gets back to normal."

Laura Jane Schaefer, 26
Portland

How do your saving and spending habits compare to those of your peers?

"Sometimes, I feel like I can't even relate to my peers. They spend like drunken sailors. Cars, TVs, iPhones, eating out, you name it. I once had a friend with two kids, three cars, a mortgage, and a stay at home wife mind you pull me aside and lecture me on the need to put away that extra $200 each month. $200 a month? That's only saving $2400 a year! That will pay two years of college for one of your kids if you're lucky. Another couple we know eats out almost every day. It's excessive.

I love living frugally. I live in a one-bedroom apartment in Pittsburgh with my wife, we bus/bike to work, buy locally, and enjoy the little things in life. There's no need to spend money just because you can."

Andrew Fournaridis, 25
Pittsburgh

Topics:
  • Financial Planning
  • Saving and Spending
  • Financial Planning
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This article was written by J. Maureen Henderson from Forbes and was licensed as an article reprint. Article copyright December 31, 2011 by Forbes.
The statements and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author. Fidelity Investments cannot guarantee the accuracy or completeness of any statements or data.
This reprint is supplied by Fidelity Brokerage Services LLC, Member NYSE, SIPC.
The third party provider of the reprint permission and Fidelity Investments are independent entities and not legally affiliated.
The images, graphs, tools, and videos are for illustrative purposes only.
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